So if you have read this earlier post from yesterday then you know all the craziness that went into planning this trip and the reason we flew into Germany.
We started our Europe trip from Germany and we knew that there was no way that we could leave Munich without experiencing the world’s largest beer fest i.e. Oktoberfest!
What is not to love about Oktoberfest? What is not to love about beer, singing and dancing with a bunch of strangers, soft pretzels and rotisserie chicken?
What is Oktoberfest?
Held annually in Munich, it is a 16-day folk festival running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October, with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year.
History of Oktoberfest goes back to 1810 when King Ludwig I married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. All the citizens of Munich were invited to join the festivities of this joyous occasion. Every year it is held in the same location.
There is a big misconception that Oktoberfest is all about beer and gigantic beer tents. There is so much more to Oktoberfest. It’s an open air amusement park full of beer tents, rides, shows and eateries.
Simply put – We loved it and this is coming from a non beer lover :)! It was one of the top highlights of our trip.
We landed at Frankfurt Airport after a long flight from Seattle and went straight to our favorite pastry shop at the Airport. German pastries and toasted sandwiches are delicious. I still remembered the taste of that Thai chicken sandwich and double chocolate chip muffin from 2 years back…nostalgia.
We then took a fast train to Munich from Frankfurt. Tickets to my surprise were a little bit on the steeper side but this was the fastest way to get there for us. We paid around $115pp for a one way ticket.
We got to Munich around 5pm checked into our very modern and comfortable hotel that was few minutes’ walk to Oktoberfest. We had a hard time finding anything affordable close to the park given our last minute planning. So be ready to pay well over $250 – $300 a night if not planning ahead of time.
Tip – Plan ahead if you can! Many hotels sell out months in advance.
We freshened up and were ready to check out Oktoberfest by 8pm. You could feel the festivities in the air on our short walk to the park. Germans and even some tourists were in happy spirits and very well dressed in their dirndl (traditional dresses for women) and Men in Lederhosen(Traditional bottoms with checked button up shirt).
We were blown away by the size of the festivities and number of people in attendance. We walked around and decided to go in the Hofbrauhaus tent. Everyone was dancing, singing, hugging random strangers. We were surrounded by 10,000 happy drunk people…drunk over beer and happiness!
Few things my overly analytical self realized were – .
- German men are true Gentlemen in many ways. They are good looking, charming and very respectful. I mean can you imagine being surrounded by may be 6000+ drunken men that have been drinking since 10am and still feel completely at ease? No foul language, no fights, no sleazy comments. I could see groups and groups of girls just having fun without being harassed. I mean there sure was light flirting but nothing compare to a similar scene in US. I was very impressed and felt completely at ease laughing and singing with these strangers.
- Somebody, usually a guy, climbs on top of a table and easily starts downing a liter of beer in less than thirty seconds. We saw lot of women participate in this too! I mean Germans CAN drink beer…..I mean lot of it. We saw people on our table go over 5-6 liter in matter of few hours. Thousands of strangers clashing their one liter mugs together and filling the beer tents with songs while the nonstop celebration of new friendships, good food, and beer rages from morning until night! Can there be a better celebration!
Watch the video above to get the feel!
- We are spoiled with choices here in US. I mean we have variety in everything. I mean who needs 15 kinds of beer? What’s with 4 different sizes? Why do I need to know my wines to order a simple Red? Throughout Europe I realized that there is little to no variety and they offer just the best. For example, once inside the tent – Just stop the waitress tell her to bring you a beer and pay cash at arrival. You get no choices in Beer. Each tent has 1 very well balanced and delicious beer. Ricky gulped down 3.5 liter in under 4hours while I was done after 1.5 liter :).
Prices were surprisingly affordable for the quantity, quality and the place. Beer was around $15(1 liter glass) and food is around $20 – $30pp. It’s all cash. Pace yourself out as you can easily spend over $200 for a couple in matter of few hours.
After lot of laughter, singing, dancing with strangers we decided to head out to the amusement park section and check that out. It was past midnight at this point but party was far from over. We tried some German sausages, roasted almonds, candies etc and called it a night at 2am. In total, we easily spent 5-6hrs at the park.
Next morning we came back again at around 11am and spent few hours at another tent. Ate some soft jumbo pretzel & delicious chicken rotisseries with beer. One thing about chicken in Germany is – they do it damn well, so soft and tender inside. It was full of flavor. We tried it at few other restaurants and it was extremely delicious.
We also indulged in some other street food at the Oktoberfest. Our favorite was to wrap it up with delicious sweet crepes. As always I got my favorite Banana Nutela and Ricky got amazingly delicious Nutela Cinnamon.
Some Fun Facts:
It is reported that 6.5 million liters of beers are consumed in these 16 days. It sounds like a crazy high number but considering that 6.3 million people attend this festival and the beer in served in a liter glass. Yeah, that is correct. There is only one size and that is 1 litre and we didn’t shy away from adding to the average :).
Ps- Checkout the first picture on top. I was amazed at how these waitresses could carry so many glasses at once. I struggled with just 1. Remember they are a liter each.
Next coming up this week : (1) Karwachauth(Indian Festival) (2) Halloween Costume Party followed by Barcelona, Spain early next week.